Many of us face the fear of failure every day. We may fear failing as parents, as spouses, or as employees. Sometimes our fear of failure stops us from trying new things and experiencing life in a different way. What would you do if you could try anything without fearing? What if you could look at failure differently?
The fear of failure is something we learn at a very young age, we are afraid to fail and upset our parents, our teachers, and our friends. We are disciplined for failure in life, from our childhood to adulthood; we are told failure is not acceptable. What if I told you failure was a step to success? No one just goes out and succeeds at everything they do, everyone fails at some point. In order to be successful at anything you must fail multiple times. So how do we accept that and get past our fear of failure? Outlined below are the steps you must take to overcome the fear of failure.
- 1. Accept that failure will happen.
Like I stated earlier, failure is inevitable. It happens to everyone. The first time a baby tries to walk, they fail. Everyone has experienced failure repeatedly in their lives. You must accept that you will fail at some point and you must determine to press on. Even if you fail at taking one step, it doesn’t mean you have failed at learning to walk.
- 2. Set goals for yourself.
When you decide to make a change and you are afraid of failing, set goals for yourself. For example, if you decide that you want to start exercising every day, maybe you have tried this before and failed, this time set smaller goals to get you there. For instance, if I want to exercise 30 minutes every day, I will set a goal to begin exercising 5 minutes three times a week. I do this for two weeks. I have accomplished that goal. Now feeling a sense of accomplishment, I decide to exercise 10 minutes a day three times a week, and you just keep going from there. Don’t set yourself up for failure by saying I am going to exercise thirty minutes every day no matter what. Start small and work your way up.
- 3. Understand that failure is temporary.
You must remind yourself that even though you have failed and it feels horrible, it is temporary. You must make it temporary. When we fail we feel like we will never succeed again, we allow ourselves to feel like losers, and think it is all over for us. Deep down we know this is not true. If every baby that tried to walk gave up because they fell on the first step, none of us would be able to walk. You must tell yourself, ‘Yes, I failed, and that is okay. Next time I will succeed.”
- 4. Positive self-talk.
When people fail, they have negative self-talk. We tell ourselves that we will never succeed; we become a bully within ourselves. Putting ourselves down and beating our self-esteem until it is gone. This must end. You must tell yourself, you will not allow failure to drag you down. You are smart, strong, and you can accomplish the goal. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to try, you will succeed. That is the kind of self-talk you must adapt to.
- 5. Find out why you failed.
One very important part of overcoming the fear of failure is figuring out why you failed in the first place. This is the time you sit down and become very honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “Why did I fail at this?” Then answer honestly, did you rush the project? Were you not focused? Did you not really try that hard to begin with? This is the part where you learn about yourself. Once you have figured out why you failed, decide on how to change it next time. Are you going to take your time on the project? Focus more, or try harder next time? This will determine if you succeed.
Overcoming the fear of failure takes a plan. You must know what you are going to do in the event of failure. I have given you a five step plan on dealing with failure so you may also overcome your fear.